Maryland Newspaper, Pennsylvania Transparency, Saskatchewan Lobbyists, More: Tuesday Buzz, August 22, 2016


The Capital Newspaper (Annapolis, Maryland) has launched a digital archive. It’s going to be a fee service but it’s free through the end of August. Issues date back to 1887.

The state of Pennsylvania has kicked off its open data initiative. “Pennsylvania launched a new online repository of state government data Monday as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s push for greater transparency. OpenDataPA, which was created via executive order, currently houses 12 data sets about aging bridges scheduled to be replaced and completed workforce training. Additional spreadsheets will be added over time.”

The providence of Saskatchewan in Canada has launched an online lobbyist registry. “Anyone is able to visit the online registry and search to see what issues or subjects have been lobbied. Lobbyists will have 30 days to register on the site.”



A quick list but a useful one: 7 resources for open education materials

Just in case, from LifeHacker: the beginner’s guide to setting up LastPass.


Interesting, from New York Times Magazine: Turning Instagram Into a Radically Unfiltered Travel Guide. “The rise of the social web promised a new era of personalization for globe-trotting. But like many things born online, as popularity of the new tools increased, efficiency and usefulness began to decrease. Brands and businesses quickly set to figuring out how to manipulate and game the services, and they soon succeeded. Yelp, for example, lost credibility after it was revealed that the company solicited people to write fake reviews. Foursquare’s recommendations were initially a wealth of insider tips, but advertisers often bought their way into the recommendations, giving chains priority over local businesses. TripAdvisor has a slightly different problem: Its ambit is so broad that its recommendations have come to represent a safe median, a poll of polls. It’s great for making sure a restaurant you want to eat in won’t give you dysentery, but less so for identifying adventures or local secrets.”

WIRED: Want More Accurate Polls? Maybe Ask Twitter. “Traditional polling methods aren’t working the way they used to. Upstart analytics firms like Civis and conventional pollsters like PPP, Ipsos, and Pew Research Institute have all been hunting for new, more data-centric ways to uncover the will of the whole public, rather than just the tiny slice willing to answer a random call on their landline. The trending solution is to incorporate data mined from the Internet, especially from social media. It’s a crucial, overdue shift. Even though the Internet is a cesspool of trolls, it’s also where millions of Americans go to express opinions that pollsters might not even think to ask about.”

The Federal Reserve got on Facebook, and the Internet turned it up to 11. (Don’t read the comments. Don’t. Read. The. Comments.) American Banker has a more measured article.

Looks like Facebook had a pretty good Olympics. “Facebook saw more than 1.5 billion interactions — likes, posts, comments and shares — related to the Olympics throughout the games. From Aug. 5 to 21, 277 million people participated in the conversation around the world, meaning Facebook users, on average, interacted with Olympics-related stories 5 times.”


Here’s a good use for Google Maps: getting out of a speeding ticket “[Danial] Mercer was accused of going 49 kilometres per hour in a 30 km/h zone. The school zone signs aren’t visible in the photo he got with his ticket.”


Interesting question: Should government clean up its Twitter feeds? With regards to Twitter’s new filter feature: “From the perspective of Lindsay Crudele, director of DotGov and dean of training at Media Cause, the new feature goes a long way to combat negative interactions with harsh critics, but isn’t a tool government officials or organizations should just jump into. It comes with potential ramifications.”


I’m into my second Hell Week of the month and this is about the most I can handle: a Twitter bot that tweets different color gradients every half hour. “… it’s incumbent on Twitter users to curate a space for themselves on the platform that is a little less **picture of a dumpster on fire** and a little more chill. Since human beings have had approximately zero chill since Eve ate that apple in that garden that one time, everyone’s best bet for having a nice time on Twitter is likely removing all the flesh-and-blood users from their feed and replacing them with bots.” Good morning, Internet…

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